This week in world veterinary news: new animal cruelty laws threaten beef farmers in India, the recent World Animal Protection report reveals cruel treatment of elephants in Asia, and new research on chimpanzees is helping scientists fight disease in humans.
Using Sick Days to Care for Pets in the UK (Business Insider­)
Have you ever called in sick at work because your cat or dog wasn’t feeling great? You certainly won’t be alone if you fess up. Research from British company Animal Friends Insurance shows that 42% of the UK workforce has done just that. What’s more, of the 2000 workers surveyed, “dog and cat owners said they used nearly a quarter (23%) of their sick days on pet-minding.”
According to a new report, more than three-quarters of elephants used for tourist entertainment in Asia are kept in severely cruel conditions. “World Animal Protection investigated the conditions endured by 2923 elephants at tourist venues in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Laos, and Cambodia and found that 77% of them were treated appallingly.”
Humans share 98% of their DNA with chimpanzees and are susceptible to some of the same diseases, so scientists are looking into the diets of chimps to possibly treat human ailments. So far, the research project has “identified compounds that are able to kill bacterial and yeast infection in a petri dish, and even some that seem to inhibit cancer development.” This research could potentially lead to new antibiotics, antifungals, or even cancer treatments.
A traditional buffalo fighting festival in Northern Vietnam was suspended after a trainer was gored to death by one of his animals. Traditional buffalo fighting, which pits the animals against one another for sport, was stopped in the coutry during the Vietnam War. This is the first human fatality since the sport resumed in 1990.
Cuban Farmers Take Note from US Farmers (Brownfield Ag News for America)
On a recent trade visit to Cuba, the Minnesota Farm Bureau president met with farmers to discuss and answer questions about how livestock is raised in the United States. “The [Minnesota] Department of Agriculture was just there last December, and from then to now [they] noticed how different it was.” According to the department, there was more investment by other countries and more improvements to the way farms were being run.
UK Pet Owners Warned About Lungworm Parasite (Express.com)
More and more cases of lungworm infection are being confirmed across the United Kingdom. “As many as two-thirds of veterinarians across the UK and Ireland say they have experienced a case in their practice within the last year.” Caused by larvae that are carried in slugs and snails, lungworm infections have sickened over 100 dogs, including 9 deaths.
Rabies Outbreak in Malaysia (The Star Online)
A recent rabies outbreak has claimed the lives of 2 children in the Serian District of Malaysia; a third child remains in intensive care. The virus “is believed to have spread to the country from infected dogs in Kalimantan, Indonesia,” according to the country’s health minister. Sixty-eight additional people who were bitten by dogs in nearby villages are being monitored for signs of the virus.
Although many of the newly instituted rules regarding animal cruelty in livestock markets in India have been well received, “one section … has set off a firestorm about people's right to eat what they want, state rights, and religion.” Selling any type of cattle at livestock markets for slaughter is now forbidden, a rule that many believe impedes the right of people to eat what they want and threatens the livelihoods of small farmers.